Last night we had a nice family party to celebrate not one, not two, not three, but FOUR family birthdays! It started out as a special bday party for my awesome mom, but then we realized that there were four October birthdays within a week or so of each other... so we did it all in one fell swoop! As my regular readers will know, we have a tricky family when it comes to meeting everyone's culinary needs and desires: vegans, no-salt-no-oil-no-sugar vegans, meat and potatoes, no soy, picky children, and a few perfectly agreeable adults (thank god for them!). So, I had a brilliant flash of inspiration that EVERYONE loves hummus - and settled on hosting a big Middle Eastern Feastern.
I started off with soaking an enormous quantity of chickpeas the night before... since I was planning some serious chickpea madness! The first thing I made was two batches of roasted chickpeas. The bowl in front was flavored with tamari, agave, olive oil, sumac, black pepper, and garlic (thanks Vijita!) The ones in back were no-salt, no-oil : made with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper. They were both really yummy. I don't make roasted chickpeas often, but I should! Plus, they were a really fun party food.
Next up, I made two batches of the baked falafels from Appetite for Reduction. (special thanks to coldandsleepy for the inspiration to finally make these!) I did a little research online, and decided to use uncooked 'banzos that had been soaked for 24 hours, instead of cooked beans. They turned out really great, so I think I'll stick with that method! The little plate in back are the ones with no-salt and no-oil. This was a really easy recipe to make some one way, and some the other way without too much hassle.
I really love Baba Ghanoush, and I even have a really good and easy recipe for it, but I don't make it that often... I'll admit that I busted out a jar of cooked eggplant from my pantry, which meant that this whole thing took about 3 minutes. At the Middle Eastern grocer I found this amazing eggplant, all cooked up and full of smoky flavor from the roasting - and the only ingredients are eggplant and salt. I love it! I added a little extra lemon juice, and the whole thing was just creamy and magically delicious.
I'm really sorry I didn't get a special picture of my hummus - it was the star of the show!! It's up there in the yellow bowl at the top of the picture. I used a new recipe, and I loved it. Of course, it probably helped that I had warm, freshly cooked chickpeas. Plus, because this was a very special occasion, I did something I've never actually bothered to do before: I skinned the chickpeas (or at least, most of them). Perhaps this added to the overall excellence of the recipe. I used a recipe from AFAR magazine. Have you ever heard of that magazine? A friend of ours got us a subscription for a wedding present - since we love to travel. It was a very thoughtful gift indeed, and we are loving it. I especially loved the article in this month's issue about the guy who travels to Israel just to track down the very best hummus. GREAT IDEA. Anyhow, this recipe was in the magazine, and I thought I'd give it a go. It turned out super delicious!
The whole glorious spread!
Here's my plate full of goodies... falafels, veggies, chickpeas, pita bread, hummus, baba G, dukkah, tahini, olives... it's a veritable Vegan's Paradise!
Were you getting worried that after all that feasting, I would forget about dessert?? Never! Especially not for a birthday celebration! One of the many special birthdays we were celebrating is my brother's girlfriend - who is awesome, and who loves all things coconut. So I made the Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Coffee Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. (I don't know if that's the exact name of this recipe in the book - and I'm too lazy to get up and go look - but those cupcakes are SO GOOD). I knew we'd all be stuffed after dinner, so I made mini cuppers in fancy silver cupcake wrappers. They turned out super cute and super delicious.